Summer has officially arrived in New Jersey and brought with it Saturday morning’s (June 11) edition of Breakfast With The Babies at The Meadowlands featuring more than $4 million worth of Standardbreds competing in the dozen two-year-old events.
Things got underway at 9:30 a.m. on a partly cloudy morning with the track fast, temperatures in the low 70’s and little wind to begin that gradually increased in force from the east as the day wore on…and on.
The fastest of the freshmen today was pacing colt R J P who stormed home from well back with an individually-timed :26.3 end to the 1:54.4 mile for driver Marcus Miller in the eleventh race. He’s a sharp-looking Somebeachsomewhere colt from the freaky fast Vysoke Tatry who went through the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale for $40,000. Breeders David and John Prushnok have retained an interest in partnership with Dave Miller and Lawrence Means, the trainer is Erv Miller. Seriously Good set the fractions for Brett Miller and lasted for second over Whiskey Please and Ray Schnittker.
Trotting fillies opened the card and Ariana G, the baby sister to last season’s Breeders Crown winning All The Time, started the day off on a high note with a spectacular 1:59 romp for Yannick Gingras. She’s a homebred daughter of Muscle Hill trained by Jimmy Takter for Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. Checkmate Time (Scott Zeron) rallied well into the fast final quarter to be second and One Class Act (Schnittker) hung in for third.
Ellerie Hanover converted a pocket trip provided by Dave Miller into an effortless 2:01.1 win, closing into the official :27.4 last quarter. Grand Idea set the fractions for Takter and held well to be second and Lexi Marie (Trond Smedshammer) third. Nancy Johansson trains the winner, a $270,000 Harrisburg Cantab Hall filly, for Lennart Agren’s SRF Stable of Sweden.
That same owner-trainer-driver combination came right back with the $160,000 Lexington Select Sale Muscle Hill filly Southwind Avanti, who set all the fractions before sprinting home comfortably in :27.3 to complete the 1:59.3 mile. Takter was again second, this time with Stars Edge and Coolcreek Princess (Schnittker) third.
Rubio finally won something, unfortunately it was a baby race at The Meadowlands and not a presidential primary event. This Rubio is a Cantab Hall with French bloodlines on the dam’s side and he looked sharp today, scoring from the pocket for Gingras and Takter in 1:57.3 with a :28.1 final quarter. He was a $75,000 Lexington purchase by Christina Takter, John & Jim Fielding and Brixton Medical. An aggressive Southwind Segway (Tyler Raymer) cut the mile and held second while Zacks Zoomer (Marcus Miller) closed in the stretch for third.
The handsome and talented Lars Perry trotted home brilliantly in a sub-:28 final panel, winning the fifth race in 2:01.3 for Gingras and Takter. He sat kindly in the pocket until shown open road then went by willingly. The Muscle Hill colt from the accomplished race mare Southwind Wasabi was a $150,000 Lexington purchase by Christina Takter, John Fielding, Melby Gard and Bud Hatfield Stables. Eternal Patrol (Marcus Melander) flashed good foot late to get up for second and Party Hard (John Campbell) settled for third after cutting the early fractions.
After the break, Phi Alpha impressed for the second consecutive week, winning as driver Andy Miller pleased in in a front-stepping 1:59.4 mile. He sprinted to a large lead mid-stretch then coasted in with a final :57.2 half and :28.3 quarter. This Cantab Hall colt is a Bob Key homebred, the first foal from his $1.6 million champion mare Win Missy B. Trainer Andrew Harris has Phi Alpha in good form as he embarks on his racing career. You Cant Habit (Gingras) closed nicely to be second and Monteverdi also rallied well late for Campbell who got him to settle and sit in after being a bit anxious early.
Love Love Me Do was the winner of race seven for filly pacers for driver Marcus Miller. She set slow fractions, opened a clear lead mid-stretch and held safe with a :27.2 end to the 1:59.3 mile. The Rocknroll Hanover lass was bought in for $24,000 Lexington by trainer Erv Miller in partnership with Rocco Ruffalo and George Golemes. Perplexed (Zeron) had good late pace, closing the gap on the winner while World Apart and Planet Rock also flashed good late pace.
Linda Toscano has trained more than a few good horses for owner Ken Jacobs and Robin J is a filly that looks as though she may contribute to their roster of successes. Tim Tetrick settled her third along the rail as Lady Of Heaven took the field through three quarters in 1:32.1 then she flew through the stretch to get her nose on the wire first in 1:59.1 with her final quarter in :26.2. Ken bought the Roll With Joe filly at Harrisburg for $60,000 last fall. Idyllic Beach (Gingras) had the lead between stretch calls to be second while Lady In Heaven (Campbell) held up well for third.
Pacing colts took over in the ninth and Air Strike cut the mile to win in 1:57 with a wicked :26.2 final quarter for Corey Callahan. He’s another good looking Always A Virgin colt that trainer Joe Holloway paid $75,000 for in the interests of long time owners Val D’Or Farms and Ted Gewertz in Lexington. The Wall, a beautiful Somebeachsomewhere colt, was absolutely airborne in the stretch for Gingras into the fast last quarter while Richard Hill (Tetrick) was also in the fray late.
Very Special Agent (D. Miller) looked special indeed today as he rallied from a stalking position into a :26.2 final quarter tracking down Beach Pro for the 1:57 win. Relative bargain colt Hurrikane King Kong ($10,000, Lexington Selected) closed along with the winner for Gingras to get up for second and Beach Pro (Tetrick) was a valiant third. The winner was sold at Harrisburg for $130,000 to the partnership of Katz and Libfeld and is trained in the Nancy Johansson stable.
Odds On Delray won the last of the two-year-old races, converting a pocket ride afforded him by Scott Zeron to inch past Machiavelli (D. Miller) in 1:55.1 with a :27.4 final panel. He’s a Somebeachsomewhere colt from the champion mare My Little Dragon, bought for $105,000 in Lexington as a yearling by trainer Tony Alagna on behalf of Odds On Racing. Brian J (Tetrick) made a nice close to be third.
A couple of top trotting colts from last season officially embarked on their Hambletonian trail this morning with Waitlifter K winning easily in 1:54.4 and Dog Gone Lucky a good third behind the Goldsmith Maid winning filly of last year Double Exposure in a sharp 1:53.2.
Live harness racing resumes tonight at 7:15 p.m. To view the charted results from Saturday's qualifying sessions, click one of the following links: Saturday Baby Races - Meadowlands -- Saturday Qualifiers - Meadowlands
(with files from The Meadowlands)